By Robert B. Roque, Jr.
Earth Day 2022, celebrated worldwide last Friday, called on governments to “act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably” the climate change mitigation agenda. Scientists have been warning us for half a century of a dying Mother Earth if we do not change our destructive ways as nations.
Sadly, we have not heeded these calls early enough, well enough, or together enough to make significant strides to save our planet.
Examine the progression of Earth Day themes by the decade – “War against Pollution,” to “Climate Action,” to “Tomorrow’s World,” to “New Energy for a New Era,” to “Mobilize the Earth,” and now, “Invest in Our Planet” – and you’d surmise the intensifying degree of urgency, if not desperation, in these calls to action.
From protecting our planet and its resources, our failings in sustainable development and cutting carbon emissions over the past 52 years have brought us to the consequence of now having to invest heavily in saving what’s left of it.
Climate change advocates have waged protests from New York to London and many capitals of the world in order to shake the most powerful governments to end fossil fuel emissions. As a result, hundreds of them have been arrested this month, resonating the kind of response end-of-the-world warnings beget from global leaders.
Instead of winning over nations to be a united global community battling climate change, fractious resistance rages among the most robust economies. And with the East and West focused on tipping the scales of power and dominance, we’ve slid back to the Cold War – staring at the frightful threat of nuclear mass destruction.
For our children and the future’s sake, Earth Day must cease to be a celebratory occasion or a commemoration as the way we mark our historical past and our dead. Instead, Earth Day must be a commitment we live by every day to save our lonely planet from rape, pillage, injury, and murder.
No wonder the richest men on the Forbes list have begun looking up into the cosmos. “Invest in Our Planet” is not their battlecry because, as we’d expect, they are always two steps ahead of everyone else.
They look up at that big bowl in the sky and invest billions – take, for example, Elon Musk’s SpaceX or Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin – and for what? I suspect it’s not out of curiosity or the fame of conquering new frontiers but more of the greater hope for a living planet – one that could, in the most desperate future, replace our dying earth.